13 In Chile/ Travel/ Travel hacks

7 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING CHILE

With attractions such as Easter Island, Torres del Paine, and San Pedro de Atacama, there’s no doubt that Chile is on most travelers’ bucket lists. So, if you’re hoping to travel to Chile in the near future, check out my things to know before visiting Chile to make sure your trip is a success!

1. Chile is long, REALLY long

things to know before visiting ChileI think that after traveling Europe I had this picture in my head of how my exploring in Chile would go. I’d work during the week, and then on the weekends, I’d take trips within the country. However, it didn’t exactly happen this way. In reality, if you’re based in Santiago, it’s kind of hard to get to other areas of Chile on the weekend because they’re just too far away. This doesn’t mean you’ll never see them, you’ll just have to wait until you have longer periods of time for a vacation! 

2. You don’t need a visa to travel to Chile

This is definitely one of the most important things to know before visiting Chile. As a U.S. citizen (as well as citizens of the E.U.), you won’t need to acquire a visa or pay a fee to enter the country. In fact, you’re permitted to stay in Chile for 90 days (3 months) at a time on a tourist visa. Nonetheless, many people who want to stay in Chile for longer will either extend this visa for another 3 months or just leave the country and come back. Many times, expats will cross the border to Mendoza, Argentina for the weekend and come back.

3. Chilean Spanish is not the Spanish you learned in school

things to know before visiting ChileStudents traveling to Chile to learn Spanish tend to be frustrated that it’s not exactly the same as the Spanish they were taught in high school. Yes, you’ll have to learn to use phrases like ¿cachai? and weon and maybe you’ll even start to conjugate verbs differently. Nonetheless, I promise that the Chilean dialect is not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Moreover, once you get the hang of it, it’s actually kind of fun.

4. Chile’s weather completely changes in different regions

All I need to explain here is that the northern part of Chile is a desert, while southern Chile is Patagonia. You know, the snow-covered mountains? If you were to check the weather for San Pedro de Atacama and then Puerto Natales (like I just did), you’d notice a huge difference in their highs for the day. When planning a trip to explore the whole of Chile, pack for extreme variations in weather. 

5. Meals are much later than you’re used to

things to know before visiting ChileLook, I’ve always known that Americans are supposed to eat larger quantities than other countries, but who knew that we eat our meals so much earlier than everyone else? In Chile, finding a place to eat lunch at 11:30 isn’t a thing. In fact, most restaurants won’t open for lunch until about 1 P.M. Oh, and dinner? It’s not at 5 o’clock.

6. Earthquakes are extremely common

Being from the Southeastern United States, I’m not used to them. To be honest, I don’t even remember having felt one before I moved to Chile. Nonetheless, I remember my first Chilean earthquake vividly. I was terrified upon feeling the movement under my feet, but the Chileans around me weren’t even reacting and told me it was just a “temblor”. When visiting Chile, know that the country is 100% equipped to deal with earthquakes (and temblors). Oftentimes, earthquakes that would be considered to be large-scale in other countries barely do any damage in Chile. So, if you happen to experience an earthquake in this country, my advice is to look to the locals and follow their reactions.

7. Chile might not be as cheap as you’d think

things to know before visiting ChileWhile I still think that Chile is cheaper than Europe, I’ve also noticed that foreigners often have a misconception about all of South America being cheap. Among the top things to know things to know before visiting Chile, know that this generalization is not always true, especially in the case of Argentina and Chile. Keep in mind that, especially in Santiago, it’s the capital of the country and it houses approximately 1/3 of the entire country’s population, so expect it to be expensive.

Looking for a cheap flight to Chile? Check out deals on flights at Skyscanner.

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There's no doubt that Chile is on many travelers' bucket lists. Click here to read the most important things to know before visiting Chile.

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    January 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Love this! I’ll have to keep this in mind for whenever I (finally) get to travel to Chile 🙂

  • Reply
    Ian
    January 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Leah thanks for the tips, hope we meet on the beach in Matanzas sometime , love History and little dogs, and i have an English accent..

  • Reply
    Ashley
    January 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Good info to know! I assumed it was going to be cheap like Brazil was, but I’m sure it’s still cheaper than the US is! lol I’ll be in Chile in April and I can’t wait!

  • Reply
    Only By Land
    January 15, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I’m from the UK and after the Brexit unfortunately everywhere became more expensive. I traveled from Cape Horn all the way up to Bolivia and Peru and I agree with you, it’s very long!! Great post, I love the first picture, brilliant detail.

  • Reply
    C;lare
    January 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I have only made it to Easter Island and Torres del Paine. I would love to see more of Chile though. Despite spending a lot of time in South America it hasn’t happened yet but I will get to northern Chile one day. Its true the accent can be difficult but I lived with 2 chileans in New Zealand so I understand quite a bit now 🙂

  • Reply
    George
    January 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    First of all, your blog design I gorgeous. Second, I completely love your photography. Very soothing and inspiring. Chile is indeed very unique in the sense that it is so incredibly thin and long. I can imagine how the wildlife, flora and fauna shifts from North to south. Thanks for this informative and interesting article, and above all those lovely photos!

  • Reply
    Samantha Lorenz
    January 15, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    These are some great heads up tips. I’m actually really curious- how often do you feel earthquakes? I’m from the northwest US and I’ve experienced a few earthquakes in my life but I’ve never felt random rumbles so that would completely freak me out!

  • Reply
    Mel I TravelingMel
    January 16, 2017 at 12:54 am

    These are great tips. I think we tend to categorize a country based on a small part of it. Like you said, Chile is really long, so the weather will be diverse, as will prices of things. I think getting away from the big cities (1/3 of the people!) can make it less expensive. And great to know how easy it is for an American to spend time there.

  • Reply
    Deni
    January 16, 2017 at 1:04 am

    I have been wanting to go to Chile for so long, and this post definitely fuelled my wanderlust! I was surprised to learn about the earthquakes (although when I put two and two together, it made sense geographically)! I think that might take a bit to get used to, but turning to the locals is definitely a good tip. And I didn’t realize that US citizens and EU citizens were able to visit up to 3 months without a visa! Do you know if this is the case for Canadians as well?

  • Reply
    Jimmy and Tina
    January 17, 2017 at 4:07 am

    These are some fun facts about Chili, I didn’t realize that it would be on the expensive side.. Also nice that you don’t have to acquire A Visa, I think the US is 3 months as well and learned that the UK is 6 months. In order to work in Chili was wondering if you need a work Visa? Working changes things is a lot of countries when it comes to Visa’s.

  • Reply
    Rashmi and Chalukya
    January 17, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Interesting post! We did not know that the Chilean Spanish is different to the Spanish we get to hear outside Chile. And it was also interesting to read about the earthquakes being very common. We are yet to make it to Chile so these facts are gonna help handy.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Chile is actually at the top of my travel list. It’s great that a 3-month visa is offered (I’m assuming this also applies to Canadians) so it gives plenty of time to visit the country at one’s leisure. Although each Latin country has their own way of pronouncing certain words or using specific phrases, it’s Interesting to know that it’s quite different in Chile.

  • Reply
    deborah
    February 17, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    We live in Ecuador and it was a little bit of an adjustment here with the meals. Lunch places will open at 12 but most do not eat until 12;30 or later. This is the big meal and then they will snack around 3 and then dinner is around 8. But i had heard that dinner is much later in Chili. That would really be a difficult adjustment. None-the-less, im willing to try….
    I admire anyone who knows more than 1 language, we are still struggling with our second, spanish.
    http://4000miles.com/

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